Protein - The Denominator Customary To All Diets
Diet and Protein
The Human Body is in a constant flux with the environment. Matter and molecules flow in and out, casting themselves into its complexities. Although the body lends them structure, it is the intake, the diet, that decides its physique. To control what goes in a diet is to choose what stays inside. Dietary decisions reflect an awareness of metabolism and the nutrients needed to modify it. There may be a host of diets purported for each activity and illness. However, the one macronutrient that is invariably required, in substantial amounts irrespective of the physiological state, is protein.
Proteins hold this special place in every diet for a variety of reasons. They connect the DNA to the rest of the cell and modulate all cellular functions and responses. They are the scaffolds of the human body that struts a billion cells. Proteins are also the workers that shuffle around the body relaying messages, carrying out repairs and digestion. Oxygen from the lungs and many nutrients from the gut are protein packed and delivered to their destination. The motors in the muscles and the antibodies in the immune system are all proteins. If genes code life in a helix of DNA, then proteins are life in its decoded form. Their pervasiveness makes them indispensable and, protein synthesis a priority in metabolism.
Add to this myriad of functions the astronomical turnover rate of proteins, and continuous protein synthesis becomes vital. Every protein has a short life span and is soon broken down into its constituent amino acids. New proteins are required to take their place. The skin itself is renewed every seven days. Then there are proteins that get used up, damaged or excreted, and need to be produced again. Protein synthesis goes on at a frantic pace even in normal people. Then there are periods of rapid growth, like athletes in training, teenagers, convalescent patients, babies, pregnant or lactating mothers, where protein synthesis reaches an all time high. Proteins are broken down for other reasons as well. In times of stress, illness or starvation, the body just cannot find enough sources of energy. In such circumstances, proteins are taken apart into their constituent amino acids and are used as fuel. Therefore, in all physiological states, cells are constantly at work, churning out new proteins.
To maintain this obligatory and intense rate of protein synthesis, the body needs a dedicated supply of amino acids. Unfortunately, unlike carbohydrates and fats that are stockpiled, the human body has no arrangement to store extra amino acids. The persistent demand for proteins and amino acids has to be met anew every day and from three possible sources: cellular production, the diet or breakdown of other body proteins. Of these, cellular production would be most convenient. If the cell could produce all the required amino acids, there would be no compulsion to provide them in the diet. However, there are amino acids that just cannot be produced in the body. These 'essential amino acids' have to come from the diet.
Proteins, from the diet or supplements, are the best alternative. The supply of all amino acids can be ensured and in sufficient amounts. Cellular metabolism is relieved of the obligation to produce amino acids except for making minor adjustment in the supply chain. Protein synthesis can go on uninterrupted. Unless the diet meets the perpetual demand for amino acids, other, relatively expendable, body proteins are broken down to fulfill the requirement. In effect, a dietary deficiency of proteins forces the body to feed on itself.
The need for proteins in every diet is undeniable. The average American diet provides 1.2 g/kg of protein against the recommended daily allowance of 0.8 g/kg. The question, then, is whether to add protein supplements to an existing diet? While proteins from food may seem adequate, there is no telling whether all essential amino acids are supplied, and there is little way of knowing how easily those proteins are digested and assimilated into the body. A carefully researched protein supplement like Profect, when taken regularly, would remove such uncertainties.
Apart from supplying amino acids for protein synthesis, a high protein diet based on Profect has other advantages. Studies on high-protein diets have demonstrated their ability to induce weight loss. A high-protein diet produces early satiety and decreases the total energy intake. Protein synthesis, an energy consuming process, is promoted. The energy to assimilate such a diet, calculated as the 'Thermogenic effect of feeding,' is high. More calories are burnt, more proteins are synthesized and the lean body mass increases while the body weight goes down. Brawn is exchanged for flab.
Proteins from Profect form bioactive peptides in the gut that can enhance gut defenses. The harmful gut bacteria are killed and normal flora is allowed to colonize the intestinal lining. Profect also protects the system from free radicals, free electron molecules produced during intense activity and stress. Free radicals are known to damage cell membranes. Their role in aging, cancer and blood clotting is being intensely investigated. Profect increases the levels of Glutathione, a free radical scavenger that mops up free radicals shielding the cell from their effects. The added water-soluble vitamins and mineral in Profect prevent the loss of calcium and other micronutrients seen on high-protein diets.
Founded in 2001, Protica, Inc. is a nutritional research firm with offices in Lafayette Hill and Conshohocken, Pennsylvania. Protica manufactures capsulized foods, including Profect, a compact, hypoallergenic, ready-to-drink protein beverage containing zero carbohydrates and zero fat. Information on Protica is available at http://www.protica.com